Sinivit LLG President, Boniface Gerep, said this when distributing relief supplies to the affected wards of Ivon Gore, Floodway, Rieit Dadul and Sunam.
The LLG experienced flooding on Sunday, August 13th, affecting 90 households.
The first batch of relief supplies was distributed yesterday by the Provincial Disaster Division.
Gerep said the LLG team will continue to re-emphasise the need to reside further away from the floodway, to avoid such natural disasters.
“In the near future, we at the LLG will come up with a policy to stop people from residing along the buffer zones along the flood, and instead do reforestation or tree planting, so to protect that area,” he said.
Gerep, who is also the deputy ENB Governor and Deputy Chairman of the Pomio District Development Authority (DDA) Board, said the buffer zones are not for settlement, as the government cannot continue to come to the aid of the same people every time there is a natural disaster along the river.
“I also appeal to the Baining locals selling land to outsiders there, to assist to resettle them to higher grounds away from the floodway, or to stop selling portions of land along the buffer zones of the river,” he said.
The LLG President further thanked the East New Britain Provincial Administration, through the Provincial Disaster Division, for the relief supplies and for the attention now being given to Warangoi bridge, which is at risk following continuous flooding and erosion over the years.
Director of the Division of Disaster, Donald Tokunai, said: “This is not the first time we came to assist people affected by flooding, as we were here in 2020 to help people at Kulungure and Boboana, where we conducted awareness for people to stop residing close to the river banks.”
Tokunai said the provincial government will do its part again to ensure people move away from the buffer zones of the river. Anyone insisting to reside along the floodway will do so at their own risk.
(Picture by Jack Jnr Keskala)